Congress: Always Stooping To New Lows

I’ve never had a very high opinion of the US Congress. Congress acts as either a tool of the executive branch (which has become increasingly evident during the Bush Administration) or as a destructive over-reaching body. Rarely – since I can recall – has there been much middle ground. Last week’s Major League Baseball steroid hearings and the ongoing Terri Schiavo circus go to show how horrendous a legislative body this Congress is.Above anything else in my life, I’m a baseball fan. It easily trumps my interest in politics. When I watched Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Jos?e Canseco and others dragged before this Congressional witch hunt, I lost a lot of respect for our legislators. Absolutely nothing constructive occurred by bringing baseball players to Washington. They surely were not going to implicate themselves or others on steroid use, and even if they wanted to, they wouldn’t have been able to because immunity was not granted. Bringing MLB Commissioner Bug Selig and Players Union President Donald Fehr was important because they’re the ones who make the drug testing policies.

This is not to say that steroids in baseball is not a valid issue. MLB twice opened up its collective bargaining agreement to implement a tough testing policy. Before this new policy has even been allowed to run its course, Congress decides it needs to step in. My question to the Republicans and Democrats on the House Reform Committee is this: if Congress was so concerned with drug use in Major League Baseball, then why weren’t these hearings held in the late 1990s? I can answer this question for these incompetent lawmakers: Jose Canseco’s book drummed up a publicity circus that Congress couldn’t resist. If Canseco doesn’t write this book, Congress doesn’t hold these ridiculous hearings. It’s sad that a lowlife like Jos?e Canseco brought a powerful legislative body to its knees.

If Congress truly cared about steroids in sports as much as they care about getting votes, then they should have held these hearings in 1998 when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were shattering Roger Maris’ single season home-run record. That would have been an act of courage because baseball in the 90s was at its apex. Anybody who follows baseball knew that something fishy was up in the 1990s. Centerfielders resembled linebackers and balls were flying out of stadiums at record levels.We didn’t need baseball players to testify in front of Congress. No good came from it. Baseball has problems, but it is working to create a comprehensive testing policy. Congress had no right to interfere in what should have been an internal matter handled by Major League Baseball.

Now onto the Terri Schiavo debacle. Congress’ disregard for the courts is nothing short of tyrannical. For over a decade, courts have sided with Michael Schiavo’s wish to remove his wife’s feeding tube. However, Congress passed a law – which President Bush signed – that disregarded the decades of legal rulings in state courts and put the Schiavo case in a Federal Court. This sets a horrific precedent by allowing a Congress to throw 10 years of judicial rulings by the wayside. Much to Republicans’ dismay, the Federal courts sided with Michael Schiavo, paving the way for Terri to pass on in peace. Yet this abuse of power is not even the worst of this shameful incident.

In the Republican attempt to uphold their catch phrase: “culture of life,” Congressional leaders tried to subpoena Terri Schiavo, her husband and parents to testify before a hearing. Thankfully, this measure failed. The Republican Congress has lost its mind. What could be accomplished by bringing in a woman in a vegetative state to appear before Congress and the world? The fact is that Republicans have shamelessly exploited the plight of Terri Schiavo and her family for political gain. Even more disheartening is that the Democrats haven’t put a stop to this. But to connect Schiavo’s plight with the pro-life movement is sick and disturbing. The fact is that Michael Schiavo is Terri’s legal guardian. The courts have supported him for over 10 years. There really is no debate.

The politics and lawsuits need to stop. Let this poor woman die in peace. It’s a travesty she’s been kept alive in such an abject state for so long. The right-wing radicals need to back-off and let this family make decisions for itself. The actions of the Republican Congress resemble something out of the Stalinist Soviet Union